‘Human rights form a chain with many links,’ new Utah Citizens’ Counsel report says

New public policy recommendations by the Utah Citizens’ Counsel starts and ends with human rights, a member of the counsel and longtime member of the Utah State Board of Regents said Thursday.

“It is our belief that the strength of the Utah society depends upon fundamental fairness and equal opportunity for all of those in our increasingly diverse society and state,” said Aileen Clyde, who is also a former counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Clyde noted that the group’s 2015 Assessment of Public Policy Progress in Utah contains commendations but also recommendations to further the state’s progress in seven key areas: health, public education, environment, interpersonal violence, poverty, participatory government and immigration.

“We believe that meeting the challenges that face us in Utah requires joint action by governments, nonprofits, religious groups, families and individuals. While valuing our tradition of self-reliance, we must work together to solve intractable problems,” she said.

One of the group’s recommendations is that the Utah attorney general should withdraw from the states’ lawsuit that has prevented President Barack Obama’s executive orders on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans from taking effect.

“UCC believes that the argument against the president’s action is largely political,” the report says.

On the other hand, the report commends Utah’s driving privilege card legislation as well as the so-called Utah Dream Act, which extends in-state college tuition rates to qualified students who are not authorized to be in the United States.

The report has multiple recommendations calling for expansion of early childhood education.

“Providing at-risk children with opportunities to become kindergarten ready is one of the most important ways that Utah can prepare its children to succeed in school and life,” the report says.

“To UCC, giving at-risk preschoolers an equal opportunity to learn is an important human right. Poverty and other at-risk environments damage educational opportunity.”

Clyde noted that many of the committees’ reports dovetail, she noted, “reflecting the relationship of one human right to another.”

For example, reducing poverty enhances educational opportunity, improves health and strengthens personal security. Good health depends not only on medical care, but on clean air, clean water and social systems that encourage healthy habits.

“Human rights form a chain with many links,” Clyde said.

Other recommendations:

  • Combat climate change by the state imposing a carbon tax and significantly expanding incentives for solar and wind power.
  • Phase out use of property taxes to subsidize the state’s water supply.
  • Fund full-day kindergarten for at-risk children.
  • Take full advantage of Medicaid expansion and build the education, support services and regulation necessary for adequate, effective and fair care.
  • Implement the provisions of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
  • Appropriate state funding for housing and services for 3,000 women, children and men turned away from overburdened crisis shelters, according to 2014 data.
  • Appropriate new funding to ensure the five- and 10-year goals of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission can be implemented.
  • Create an independent redistricting process by statute or the initiative petition.
  • Pass legislation that establishes campaign contribution limits.

Utah Citizens’ Counsel is a “nonpartisan group of senior community advocates dedicated to improving public policy in Utah,” according to its website.

Clyde said the group’s name is counsel as opposed to council. “We’re here to offer something, not be something,” she explained.

Junior Achievement of Utah names new president and CEO

Christy Tribe, former executive vice president and chief development officer of Junior Achievement of Utah, has been named president and CEO of the organization.

She will succeed Phil Cofield, who will retire at the end of the year after 30 years as the head of the organization.

“We are very pleased to announce Christy’s appointment,” Ray Dardano, area board chairman, said in a press statement. “Christy brings strong leadership skills developed through serving in a wide variety of capacities at JA. She is well-respected in the communities we serve and has a keen understanding of the nonprofit sector and the specific challenges and opportunities currently facing Junior Achievement.”

Tribe spent the first 10 years of her career in the corporate world in various roles, including managing art production at FranklinCovey and as a senior interactive project manager at Dahlin Smith White Advertising. She has worked as a development officer in the nonprofit arena over the past 15 years for a number of organizations, including the Oquirrh Institute and the University of Utah College of Nursing. Most recently, she has spent 12 years with Junior Achievement of Utah, helping students with a proactive approach to breaking the poverty cycle.

Dardano also announced Craig Wagstaff, president of Questar Gas Co., has been named the organization’s new area board chairman, effective immediately.

Junior Achievement of Utah was established in 1956 to educate Utah’s students in work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

How to Make Your Assignment Writing Process More Productive

Whether you’re writing a simple essay, an in-depth research paper or you’re starting your dissertation, you’ll want to make sure your writing process is as productive as possible. The simplest way to make your assignment writing process more productive is to hand the paper to a professional assignment writing service, who produce it for you, freeing you up to concentrate on other deadlines. If you are going to tackle the assignment yourself, there are several things you can do to streamline your process from the start. These apply for whatever written assignment you have.

It’s always an excellent idea to create a realistic assignment writing timeline as soon as a paper has been assigned. Take into account the time you’ll need to brainstorm, choose, and refine your topic; the time you’ll need to gather resources and delve into your research; the time you’ll need to compose your draft and make edits and refinements; and finally the time you’ll need to write, format, and proofread your final copy. There are several useful websites and smartphone apps to help you set and keep a feasible assignment writing schedule, but even something as simple as a sheet of paper tacked to a bulletin board can help.

Having a workspace set aside, one that’s uncluttered and free of distractions, will also help you stay on task while you’re writing. Gather all of the things you’ll need — research materials and notes, computer, sticky notes, etc. — and choose a workspace that’s quiet, spacious, and well-lit. Turn off your cell phone, or switch to “do not disturb” or airplane mode when you’re ready to work.

Plan to take a short break every hour and a half, to get up and stretch, drink some water, and use the restroom. These pauses in your work may seem like a waste of precious writing time, but studies have shown they’ll actually help you retain clarity and focus. And though you may be tempted to skimp on sleep while you’re in the middle of an assignment, you’ll want to stay well-rested. Sleepiness can lead to anxiety, attention deficit, memory loss, and more.

If you run into a spot of writer’s block, rather than get frustrated by trying to struggle through, change your focus and go back to your original outline, draft, or brainstorming notes. Dictate some thoughts or ideas into talk-to-text software, go for a brisk walk, or listen to a motivational music playlist. Any of these things can jump-start your creative process again, without stalling your assignment progress.

Finally, try your best to save your editing work for after you’re done writing. It’s sometimes difficult not to edit and refine as you write, but often times, pausing to fix a grammar or punctuation error can make you lose your train of thought, and it can be hard to get it back. Just let your writing process flow, and resolve to edit once you’ve finished the draft or section you’re working on.

Was this teacher wrong to wash a student’s mouth out with soap? Here’s what parents are saying

References to the movie “A Christmas Story” aren’t uncommon this time of year, but a North Carolina teacher’s method of reprimanding one student has people mainly mentioning a scene in the film documenting an old-school form of punishment.

That’s “washing kids’ mouths out” with soap, traditionally done to deter them from deploying “dirty” language, Maureen Hoff wrote for Hello Giggles.

Wiley Elementary kindergarten teacher Tiffani Staton resigned from her post Wednesday after reports she washed a student’s mouth out with soap prompted an investigation, according to the Associated Press. The student’s parent complained to the school, which is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

WFMY News 2 reported Staton faces no charges from the incident but that some parents of the school’s students are in “disbelief.”

“When you take your child to school, you trust they are in the best of care,” mom Setaria James told News 2. “You don’t want anything done to them that you won’t do. I would say some type of punishment would be appropriate, of course. But I don’t know what type.”

Opponents of the practice also point to cases of people receiving scrutiny for resorting to the same punishment with kids recently, according to Hello Giggles.

The Telegraph detailed one such case from this spring: A 23-year-old UK man watched a 6-year-old kick an old man’s walking stick. The man confronted the boy, the boy yelled expletives at him, and the man allegedly walked to a nearby store to purchase soap, pinning the boy down and putting a bar in his mouth.

The man pleaded guilty to assault, according to The Telegraph.

Jason Smith, mitigating, said the man didn’t use his best judgement but that the punishment proved acceptable in “the good old days,” when youths behaved better.

“[The man accused] fully accepts in hindsight that that was not the best way to react,” The Telegraph quoted Smith as saying. “All [he] was trying to do was teach the little boy some manners. Unfortunately, manners are in short supply nowadays.”

Virginia Kruta noted for Independent Journal at least a few parents took to Twitter to support Staton’s method.

“A teacher has resigned amid an investigation into whether she washed out a student’s mouth with soap. (Resign, heck. Give her a raise!),” Twitter user donald phillips posted.

Regardless, IJ reported Nora Carr, Wiley Elementary’s chief of staff, issued a statement condemning the punishment.

“We are deeply concerned that this occurred. There is no reason to discipline a child in this manner at school,” the statement read.

Former student sends letter of apology, money for stolen books to school decades later

RIVERTON — A former Riverton Elementary School student recently atoned for past mistakes after admitting to stealing paperback books from sixth-grade teachers decades ago.

Kyla Robertson, a Riverton Elementary administrative assistant, was going through the school’s mail when she came across an anonymous letter with $50 enclosed in it.

The letter’s contents revealed its sender’s former misdoings with instructions to use the money to purchase new books for the school, Robertson said.

“I was in sixth grade during the 1969-1970 school year,” the letter began. “I took some paperback school books from my teachers. I think their names were Ms. Stout, Mr. Wade and Mr. Bellon. I know I can’t pay them back, but take this and get some more books with it. Sorry for what I did.”

School employees were shocked, Robertson said, and thought it was cool the former student came forward after so many years.

Robertson confirmed that the money will be used to buy books, and she said she hopes the anonymous sender knows the school received it.

“No matter how old or what your situation in life is, you can always … if you have done something wrong, even if it takes you years … you can ask for forgiveness,” Robertson said.

A Riverton Elementary lunch lady, Ardell Wong, happened to be in the letter writer’s sixth-grade class and said all her classmates were good kids.

After Wong found out about the letter, she sat and wondered who it could have been but thought, “Oh, you know, kids do dumb things.”

Back then, they had to go to Midvale to buy books, Wong said, so she thought the person really liked the book and thought he or she needed to have it.

“It made me think, ‘Wow, what in my life … do I need to do to reconcile something?’” Wong said. “It makes you think about your own life and things that you need to make right and stuff.”